Seven years of domination by Lance Armstrong was certainly fun, but the drama of this year’s Tour de France makes everything so much more exciting to watch. Yesterday, everyone had written off Floyd Landis’ chances at a podium finish. Yet today, he managed to tear apart the stage and somehow made up all of the time he lost in yesterday’s collapse. Now, everything will be decided by Saturday’s time trail, and even then we might still see a sprint for podium spots in Paris, which I don’t think has happened in almost twenty years. Landis has to get major props for an outstanding ride today; everyone thought he’d been psychologically crushed, but he’s stormed back into a fantastic position. What Landis accomplished today was simply phenomenal.
“It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in 20 years of cycling… Can you think of a comparable performance? This will go down as one of the greatest rides in the history of the Tour.”
“Floyd Landis’ Stage 17 ride on Thursday was the most amazing ride I have ever seen in my life and will go down as one of the best rides of all time…“
Let’s call it a comeback.
I’m of the opinion that the winner of today’s stage in the Tour de France, Mr. Michael Rasmussen of Denmark, looks like a starving Ethiopian child, except he’s white. Evidence:
Srsly, as Mr. Porcaro stated, “Someone needs to feed him.”
All joking aside, today’s stage from Bourg d’Oisans to La Toussuire epitomizes what I love about the Tour de France, and I wish I could’ve seen more of it. You have an early breakaway led by Rasmussen trying to hold off the peloton over hundreds of kilometers of roads. You have a dangerous rider such as Levi Leipheimer storming out of the main pack on a crucial climb, and coming agonizingly close to turning the standings upside-down. And of course there is the final climb at the end of a already-murderous day of climbing, where the truly great riders emerge and where others simply fall apart.
I’ve never been a big fan of Floyd Landis, he doesn’t seem to respect the maillot jaune, and I always took his short post-race remarks to be a sign of arrogance and condescension, and not of humility. Obviously I don’t know him personally, so all of those attributes could certainly be off the mark, but any preconceived notions I had of his character were out the window this afternoon, and you could feel nothing but sympathy for a man who was so close to winning the entire Tour, only to crumble on the final climb of the most crucial stage of the Tour thus far, essentially killing all of his hopes and dreams of wearing yellow in Paris. Landis was completely shattered.
That emotion is one of the primary reasons I watch the Tour. The only other comparable sporting event I can imagine is the World Cup. In no other sporting realm have I ever witnessed such agony and such joy, so up-close and personal, on such a consistent daily basis. These guys wear their hearts on their sleeves every single day, and you can witness their pain and suffering on every single pedal of their bikes, and you feel as if you’re climbing that mountain right there with them. That personal drama, along with the beauty of a flowing peloton and the excitement of the breakaway, have made me a true fan of the Tour de France. Vive le Tour.
Links, links, links:
- Tomorrow, remember to jump! There’s no way this will work.
- Two of the tallest flagpoles in the world, as seen from space.
- North Korea’s official news agency. Still the best country ever.
- China has scale models of regional geography, for military excercises. Simply amazing. I’d love to fly through these in person.
- Some believe that the current Israeli-Lebanese conflict is a sign of the second coming of Christ. I mean, it’s possible, I guess, haha.
- A liquid clock
- An interesting building complex in Istanbul, called Kanyon
- Find out the popularity of your name over time. My name peaked at #24 in the 1940s, and has dropped sharply since then, and currently ranks #417.
- And finally, photos of various world leaders when they were young. I can’t even begin to describe how hilarious this is. Just look at the second photo of Blair.
So many lols.
We also have an epilogue to yesterday’s photoshopping quest. Mr. Porcaro was bored and felt the need to go even further.
And Mr. Behrend has one more contribution to the cause: